The idea of the single parent conjures up two very different images. On one hand, there is the single parent who does not have an ex-spouse or co-parent to rely on. On the other hand, there is the single parent who co-parents with an ex-spouse. No matter the circumstance, all single parents are valid, and they need as much support as possible when their children are out of school for the summer.
Ask the Kids About Summer Activities
Children often know what they would like to do during the summer, or they have ideas that will make it easier for parents to fill their time. These summer activities are often affordable and allow children to leave the house as if it were a school day. This is a simple way for parents to enroll their kids in enrichment activities that substitute for traditional babysitting.
These summer activities may include sleepaway camps that allow parents some freedom during the summer. Summer activities may also include friends who are going to the same camp or enrichment activities. If parents pool their resources, they can easily afford many activities for their children.
How Can I Coordinate with My Ex-Spouse?
Single parents should coordinate with their ex-spouse as much as possible. In some cases, an ex-spouse will take the children for a week at a time. The ex-spouse can have fun with the kids, and a single parent can go on vacation, visit friends, and handle any errands or household to-do lists they have avoided.
When the two sides can come to an agreement on summer child custody, it is much easier for the children to remain well adjusted. The children might even get two vacations out of this arrangement. Children often like being in the other parent’s house because it is like being on a mini-vacation.
Should I Take Time to Focus on Myself?
Single parents should try to take time for themselves when they can, especially after a recent divorce. For example, the summer camp or activity that the children go to may have extended hours. A parent who gets off work early might have an hour or two to relax before picking up their kids.
The kids should be allowed to go on sleepovers or overnight trips if they are old enough, and a single parent can enjoy a little more time to themselves. Additionally, if the children are sent to an enrichment program early in the morning, a single parent might take this time to relax before going to work.
When Can Kids be Alone?
In Alabama, there is no legal requirement for when a child can be left alone. So, in this case, it is best for a single parent to use his or her own judgement on when the kids should be left alone, if he or she cannot find someone else to supervise the kids.
Single parents should work with neighbors and friends who can check in with their kids or even invite their friends over. If a single parent goes to work, but a few friends come over, the parents of those few friends can keep an eye on the kids during the day.
Make Chores Easy to Understand and Complete
Kids should have extremely simple chores that they can understand and complete in short periods of time. When the kids are asked to complete chores, they should have short tasks that can easily be checked. The kids want to know that they have accomplished their goals, and parents need to know that the house will be tended to.
Single parents can take chores to the next level by offering incentives or money to their kids for chores. Kids who are willing to work hard for the money they receive can do all the chores in the house for a fair price, or they may ask for a very nice incentive in return. Clearly lay out the guidelines for the children, write up a chore list that can be checked off, and ensure that children have simple chores to do every day.
Listen to the Kids
Kids can get frustrated easily during the summer because they are not seeing their friends every day, their routine has changed drastically, and they may not want to follow the family plan for vacations and visitation. Listen carefully to kids and let them know that their concerns are heard.
Kids make some perfectly reasonable requests that parents can follow through on at any time, but there are other requests that might not be feasible. If parents and kids talk to one another, they can come to an agreement that makes everyone happy. It is alright to deny requests that are not feasible, but it is best to meet them halfway by compromising on certain things that can be good for everyone.
What Activities Can I Do with my Children?
When parents have the time, they should try to be creative with their kids. Writing, drawing, painting, singing, and playing instruments can be fun family activities. At the same time, kids can entertain themselves for hours at a time if they are busy creating. A child who has a parent that works from home can be incredibly productive. Children might even take a liking to writing, drawing, or music because they have all summer to practice.
If a single parent feels as though there needs to be a child custody modification, he or she should speak to a lawyer.
Huntsville Divorce Lawyers at Hodges Trial Lawyers, P.C. Assist Divorcing Couples with Child Custody and Parenting Plans
Talk to one of our Huntsville divorce lawyers at Hodges Trial Lawyers, P.C. when you have issues with your divorce, child custody agreement, or parenting plan. Call us today at 256-539-3110 or contact us online for an initial consultation. Located in Huntsville and Athens, Alabama, we serve clients throughout North Alabama, Madison County, Limestone County, Marshall County, Jackson County, Morgan County, and Lauderdale County.